Recap October 27, 2018

The next morning, Nameless cast Teleportation and they arrived at Castle Waterdeep to meet with Delaan Winterhound, Prince Alagarthas and his entourage. They were met by Delaan Winterhound in the small room they had now become accustomed to teleport into Waterdeep in. He led them down past the common area just before the Council Room and down a hallway to the left. As they entered two doors their surroundings changed to a more elaborate setting. They could tell this hallway held rooms for the ambassadors of the Sword Coast cities and Representatives from the major factions of the area. Delaan stopped a door and waved his hand in front of it. The door opened and they entered the room. It felt like they were more outside then in a room inside a castle. They were sure they felt a breeze and smelled pine trees. On the other side of the room sat a group of elves. One rose and moved towards the group. He singled out Thoravil and came to him with his hand extended to shake it. Instead he went in for an embrace. Prince Alagarthas spoke to Thoravil “A star shines on the hour of our meeting. It is good to see you. My father and I had heard you were dead. And once we heard you were alive, we celebrated. We also knew that you would be a good person to undertake a mission for us.”

“Please have a seat and enjoy this meal” The prince then introduced his entire entourage to the group. The prince did not act like other nobility that they had met before. The group introduced themselves.

There were all kinds of fruits and breads and meat, many foods Thoravil had not had since he left.

“We are awaiting one more to this discussion. Lady Laeral Silverhand. She asked to be present.”

About halfway through the meal, a knock came on the door and it opened. Lady Laeral Silverhand stood there. Those who had been at the 1st Council recognized her but saw that she now wore the insignia of the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the leader of the Lords’ Alliance which had been held by Dagult Neverember the last time they were in Waterdeep.

“We will not go into details at this time but she is now the Open Lord of Waterdeep. We hope this interruption does not have any negative effects on our fight against the Dragon Cultists” said Delaan.

They finished the meal and Prince Alagarthas spoke: “Delaan told the 1st Council about the incursions that the Dragon Cultists have been doing to the wood elves and wild elves of the Misty Forest. At least one dragon and many dragon cultists have been carrying out raids and they have all been the same. They come in, attack a village, destroying every building and killing everyone man, woman and child, take all the valuables and then leave, moving onto the next village. Until they came to Atland. There they they around half of the villagers alive and destroyed only a portion of the buildings and did not take any valuables. My father, King Melandrach believes that this means the attacks are in the wane. Delaan and I think that it is only a lull and they will start up again soon. I would like you and your friends to go to Altand and check things out. I have asked one of my entourage, Elrogard, to accompany you in your endeavors.”

An eladrin stepped forward and introduced himself to the group. “Please, call me Gilbee. Yes, it is my child name but I prefer it to my adult name.”

Lady Laeral Silverhand says I agree. These dragon attacks will continue. This is only a lull. If you all can figure out who is behind the attacks and stop them or at least delay them hat will be a good thing all around. And perhaps we can stop them from attacking other villages and larger cities. I am afraid it is only a matter of time before they become bold enough to make search attacks.

Do you have any questions? the prince continued. I am sure you will need to make some preparations before you head out. You will be teleported to The Way Inn, where you will meet with Dauravyn Redbeard, the innkeeper and a former adventurer. He will give you directions to Altand from the Inn.

Thoravil says “Where is your brother, Neronvain? I hope I am not stepping out of bounds by asking this.”

Alagarthas says “No, of course not. Neronvain was exiled not long after you left. We heard several years later that he had died.” I am sorry to hear that said Thoravil. Yes. We butted heads most of our lives. Well, he butted heads with almost everyone he met, but still he was my brother.

They had a few more drinks and then said their farewells.

Delaan escorted them out of the castle and told them where they could go to get supplies. They headed to the Trade District where Mason bought a heavy crossbow and 40 bolts. Thoravil looked to upgrade his armor but there was none to be had. It would have to be made and that was something that could be done back at the manor house. They heard of a curiosity shop down on the docks called Old Xobolb’s. Interested they headed there to see what it was all about. It was an odd shop that had a stuffed beholder in its front window. And it was purple. In fact everything about the shop was purple. Even the hairless gnome that greeted them was covered in shades of purple clothing smoking a purple pipe that blew out purple smoke. All of his trinkets were various shades of purple as well. They looked around, found some items that they liked and then went back to the castle to teleport to The Way Inn.

They arrived at The Way Inn and they saw a large man standing in front of them with an enormous red beard. He greeted them and said I am Dauravyn. I was told of your coming. Please, before you set out into the Misty Forest we must have a drink. He served a wine and a mead. He then said, I was to give you directions but I think with two elves in your group you should be fine. I will say follow the road. It will become a deer path and then, well follow the destruction. It is bad.

They thanked Dauravyn and then set out down the road. He was right. The destruction was bad. Trees burned. Villages destroyed. Mass graves where village squares once stood.

After awhile they made it to Altand. The descriptions were correct. About half of the village still stood. The destruction seemed to be random from what they could see. They were met be a guard who led them into the village. He took them to another man who was coordinating the reconstruction effort. They said they were here to help and he showed them a house that had its roof torn off. He then said I can answer most questions but if you want to know more please see Galin. He is our leader now that our priest…well, our priest came out of the Temple to lead the charge against the cultists and the dragon swallowed him whole. So, Galin, the village warden, became our leader. He is in his hut in the upper boughs near the Temple. The group thanked him and they went to help with the roof. Using spells and their own strength they were able to get the roof back in place in only a few hours. They then went around the village offering help. As they were doing this they had several conversations with the villagers and learned the following:

• The dragon swooped down and attacked on the ground first. Nearly half of the village’s victims died during that first assault.

• Humans in the regalia of the Cult of the Dragon fol­lowed the dragon, killing all those they found. The village’s priest stepped out to lead others in fighting the dragon, but the beast swallowed him whole.

• Some survivors claim to have seen a cultist riding atop the dragon. Most of those refer to the dragon rider as human, like the other cultists. However, a few people report that the figure moved with the grace of an elf.

• With the priest dead, the village’s warden, Galin, has become the leader of Altand. Though he was in the thick of the fight, he survived unscathed, and has been a potent force for rallying the survivors.

The attack lasted only a short while, then the dragon unexpectedly retreated. The cultists followed, but as they fled, they took nothing of value from the village. This is a stark contrast to the dragon’s other raids, which were focused on capturing treasure.

They made their way up the last pulley system to the top of the boughs and found the Temple was larger intact. They went inside. Mason and Thoravil healed those that still needed it while Gilbee and Nameless talked with those who worked in the Temple. The worst ones would have to take time to get over their injuries. The rest, the mental damage caused by the attacks would last years. They heard similar stories of the attack in the Temple as they had on the ground.

They then went to visit Galin whose hut was just down a rope bridge from the Temple.

Stepping into a modest dwelling suspended among ironstrong boughs, you enter a cozy sitting room. A slim elf sits at a desk, standing to greet you with a forced smile as a raven perched in a nearby cage caws hideously. “Welcome to our village,” the elf says. “How can I be of service?”

The group introduced themselves to Galin and asked him about the attacks. He answered similarly but said he did not see a dragon rider. That must be the result of their fear and the utter chaos during the raid. Something told the group that he was not telling them everything. They say is there anything else you want to tell us? He finally break and says “I saw the dragon kill my wife. I am now wrecked with guilt that I could not save her. Mason sensed there was more to this but he did not press it.

The raven had been jumping around the entire visit. Galin explained that it had been freaked out by the attack and was just beginning to calm down.

Galin asked if they had a place to rest. They said not and he said that the Temple had rooms for them. They thanked him again and went to the Temple and had a meal that had been prepared for them. They then decided to take watch for some of the guards of the village so the guards could get rest. The split up the shifts with Mason going first, then Thoravil with Gilbee taking the last.

During Thoravil’s shift he was sure he saw someone leave the village and into the woods. He tried to follow the figure but it knew the woods too well and Thoravil could not keep up. He turned to go back to the village when he heard a raven and it was very close by. It was not hard for Thoravil to find the raven. It was the raven from Galin’s house. Thoravil attempted to communicate with the bird but it could only understand him and was not able to talk back. It was able to respond in squawks that Thoravil should follow him. Thoravil sent a Message back to Gilbee who woke up Mason and Nameless and they set off into the woods. By the time they arrived, Thoravil remembered he could use Message to communicate with the raven. It took some figuring out but they realized that the raven wanted them to follow him deeper into the woods. So they did and soon they came upon a field with a large indention, about the size of an adult dragon. Wandering around the field was the figure that Thoravil had followed before. It looked like it was Galin. Galin stayed in the field about 20 minutes and then headed back to the village. Thoravil followed him using Thaumaturgy to make his voice echo asking him what he was doing out in the woods. Galin sped up and yelled “Get out of my head!” Thoravil messaged Mason to get him and soon Galin was surrounded by Gilbee, Mason and Thoravil. Galin said that they were members of the cult and they would destroy him and his village. They told him they were not and gave information about the Prince that only allies would know. Finally Galin broke. He confesses that after seeing his wife killed, he found himself face to face with the Wyrmspeaker in the thick of battle and begged for his life, offering anything in return. The Wyrmspeaker took the warden up on his offer, agreeing to spare Galin and leave Altand intact in exchange for information on other settlements that would become the targets of the cult’s next round of raids. Asking for any information about the Wyrmspeaker and the dragon, Galin said that they often flew in from the southeast and the Wyrmspeaker’s hair was usually wet. It was not much to go on but it was something.

They picked up him from where Galin had sat in the grass and they took him home. They told him to continue to doing what he had been doing including going each night to check in with the Wyrmspeaker. Then they went to sleep. The next day they continued to help the village and also planned what their next move would be. They decide to tell Galin they were going to check on some of the closer villages to see if they had had any trouble. He said Greenhatch is the closest. They would leave in the morning.

The next morning instead they headed southeast in the direction they had been told the dragon had flown in from.

They had traveled for awhile when they heard the shouts of an old women coming from just off the trail they were traveling on. They investigated and saw an old woman pinned beneath a heavy fallen tree. She said once more please help me. Thoravil and Mason went to life the tree. It takes all your effort to lift the tree, knowing that you put yourselves at risk if it shifts against you. But then even as you are close to freeing the woman, the tree begins to rise on its own. Two other trees standing nearby shift back along the ground as the elf stands and smiles, showing no sign of injury.

“Heroes at last!” she says. “How many might fall back in fear at the sight of a stranger in the woods, or think first of their own safety before helping another? I grant you my blessing. May your hearts prove true where others fear to tread.”

The woman picks flowers from her hair that you swear were not there a moment ago, then twists her fingers to weave them into garlands as if by magic. She lays a garland around each of your necks, then suddenly transforms into an owl. Her awakened tree servants stomp after her into the forest.

They all looked at each other in surprise and then continued on.

They finally came to a stream that was flowing in the direction they were headed. They followed the stream. Soon the forest was covered in spiderwebs. Gilbee summoned Kindness and began to cut the webbing. Small animals and birds fell out of the webs but also giant spiders and ettercaps came out of the trees when their webs were cut. The spiders and ettercaps were no match for the group and they soon fell.

They continued to follow the stream. It grew from a small creek to a river. Soon they heard the sound of waterfall. Gilbee jumped down into the pool below the waterfall but did not see anything in the murky water. The rest of them flew down and searched behind the waterfall. There they found a cave. They waited for Gilbee and then they entered.

The cave floor was slick. Thoravil cast Control Water and dried up the path so they could walk without slipping. They walked down the path and were stopped by several elves. One spoke to them, asked what they were doing here and who were they. Their answers did not satisfy the elves and they attacked. They elves fell quickly so they decided to knock out the elf that had spoken to them. They knocked him out and they saw 20 more elves come from deeper inside the cave. There was an ettin leading the attack. They focused all their attacks on the ettin and it too soon fell landing on the unconscious elf. The elves raised their bows but the group spoke to them. The found out that the elves had been forced to work for something they called him and were too afraid to not go against their orders. Mason and Thoravil healed the elf they had knocked out. Looking up he said are those flowers what I think they are? They are blessings! It was determined that if they each gave their garland of flowers that would be enough to take the fear away and they elves would be able to run home to Altand. They gave their garlands to the elves and then went about exploring the cave some more. The elves said that they slept in caverns to the north and that the ettin had come from the south. So they went south to check out the ettin area. They found a passageway to the west and soon found themselves in a dark cavern. Magic darkness. Only Gilbee could see but only to 120ft. He went into barely into the room and saw a drider standing in the middle of the room. The drider cast Faerie on them and the started to glow a light purplish hue. Gilbee ran towards the drider shouting directions on where the beast was located. He then brought out his Hound of Ill Omen and sent to attack the drider. Thoravil came into the room and cast Spirit Guardians towards where Gilbee had said to. Unfortunately they also injured the hound and with the attacks from the drider the hound was soon destroyed. Gilbee moved more to the north and set up a defensive position. Mason shot the drider with his heavy crossbow and Namless cast Firebolt on it. A lightning bolt appeared and struck Gilbee. Then crossbow bolts hit several of the group with Gilbee taking the most damage. The bolts were poisoned! Suddenly Nameless and Gilbee were Confused and for the next several moments they moved around in random directions or stayed put staring into the darkness. Gilbee did not move too far from where he began but Nameless ran across the room and hit the cave wall. Again, the group were hit by crossbow bolts. Gilbee fell but was right back up barely alive. Mason moved to him and healed him. Nameless came out of the Confusion only to be hit by a Magic Missile barrage. The GlassStaff cast Shield and he was did not take damage. They focused on the drider and soon it fell. But spells continued to be cast on them as well as crossbow bolts were still hitting them. Nameless found a passage to the north and directed people inside. Thoravil and Gilbee found a dead-end. They all searched for secret doors but none were found. They were deciding what to do when a Wall of Stone closed them into the passageway.